Facebook is reportedly working on a new application that can passively track the location of its users, according to a recent report by Bloomberg.
Initial reports claim that the mobile app will be active even when the application is turned off. With this new feature, Facebook will likely be able to target advertisements based on the user’s location.
Apple and Google have both developed applications that can broadcast where the user is currently located. They have also developed software that notes the area where the user opened their account. These include Google’s location-logger dubbed Latitude and Apple’s Find My Friends app.
While it’s okay for users to transmit their location to their friends, they don’t want strangers to know their specific whereabouts. Simply put, Facebook check-ins are okay but real-time tracking will violate a person’s privacy.
The same Bloomberg report also revealed that Facebook might also monitor the travel habits of its users so that the company can customise the ads geared to their lifestyle or usual itinerary. These could include less-invasive sponsored posts and promos.
Although Facebook might already be doing this with the check-in data, an app that can consistently track a user’s most visited locations, especially areas they pass by but don’t patronise, can be an invaluable tool for local businesses.
Ultimately, software that can passively track the location of Facebook users will make people nervous and could face serious legal hurdles unless the company gives its users an option to turn it off.